Beorn’s Hall is an act that may surprise a lot of you in a good way. Hailing from New Hampshire, they just released their 3rd album “In His Granite Realm” via Naturmacht and despite their name, they are not a Tolkien related act but more pagan in direction and style. Both Vulcan and Rognvaldr answered questions for us regarding the album, the name, the scene in NH and a few other items of note…check it out…..
Congrats on your epic new album “In His Granite Realm”…what has been the response to it so far?
V: “Thanks! I feel it’s been generally favorable so far. We’re always trying to improve so it’s good to hear that people are enjoying what we created this time around.”
Could you give us a little history behind the project and why you decided to start it?
R.: “We started the project in 2016. We’ve been playing together in various bands and side projects since 2004. We created this project because of our love for the genre. We get to write songs about our favorite things and play how we want to play.”
V.: “We hadn’t played together for some years prior to starting BH due to other life-related obligations but once our schedules allowed and given our mutual love for the style, it was natural that we start a band like this.”
Tolkien and more
With a name like Beorn’s Hall many might think you are a Tolkien inspired band… does that factor in at all to your music, If not, what made you decide on this as the project name?
V.: “Tolkien is definitely an influence on the atmosphere we try to create but we are inspired by his works no more or less than we are inspired by the RPGs we play or anything else we enjoy really. The name is simply something we liked enough that also fit the overall vision so we went with it.”
R.: “We take most our inspiration from old RPGs, Fantasy, Mythology and Folklore.”
You have been consistent in putting music out….do you have a schedule for writing/recording? Is it easier with 2 members and thus expedites the process?
R.: “We will try to do one album per year with small releases possible in between the full lengths. It is super easy with just two of us. I’m not much into the live thing so this project is perfect. I put my best songwriting into this band.”
V.: “As long as there are new riffs there will be new albums. The inspiration has thankfully been plentiful for us.”
This album I found to be much darker with longer tracks than previous albums… is this pure coincidence or did you decide to do this during the writing and recording process?
V.: “Our minds were in a much darker/melancholic state this time around in the wake of losing a close friend so the music is very reflective of that in some parts. In terms of length, we didn’t really think about too much but ended up with 4 10+ minutes songs.”
R.: “Its funny because I actually intended to write shorter songs this time, and more of them!”
The album cover is perfect for the album title, created by Khaos Diktator. Did the album title inspire the artwork or vice versa? How did the cover come about?
R.: “We had a rough idea for the album cover. When we first got in contact with Khaos Diktator we told him our vision and then just let him go to town. We trusted in his creativity and were not disappointed. We really wanted to have the word “granite” somewhere in the title since New Hampshire is known as “The Granite State”.”
V.: “Khaos Diktator is one of the best around. We basically just gave him the loose concept we had and he completely nailed it.”
New Hampshire scene
I think of New Hampshire with acts like the epic Northern and Ancestral Shadows which I wouldn’t necessary classify you in the same genre…are there similarities do you feel in your sound? Is there a NH sound that can be defined? Do you think the long cold winters contribute to your musical aesthetic?
V.: “All of the New Hampshire bands have their own sound and identity so there is no real distinct NH style I’d say. We all have our own influences and interests which is evident when listening to the bands back to back though the general attitudes are very similar with all of us.”
R.: “Attitude! I would also say that all the NH bands share one thing in common, great riffs and a great sense of atmosphere. All the bands here have it. The group of bm musicians we have up here are extremely talented people. Ancestral Shadows brings great melodic hooks and a sorrowful atmosphere. Northern has a nice dark folk element and 10/10 90’s bm songwriting. Malacath writes some of the best dreary drawn out atmospheric bm around. He’s an incredible songwriter that guy. I think what sets us apart is the fantasy aspect. We have a different sound for sure.”
How did your relationship with the epic Naturmacht come about? What has the label made possible for you as far promoting your music?
R.: “I started talking with them in late summer 2016. I sent him a real rough version of “Lord of Silver Fountains”. We sent emails back and forth and eventually a contract was signed, one of the proudest moments in my life. Without Naturmacht, none of this would be possible. Well maybe it would but it would be a lot more difficult!”
V.: “NP has been nothing but amazing to us. Robert has been an integral element to this band from the start.”
“We both have a similar vision and already have creative chemistry”
Since you are two members, is it out of necessity that you play all of the roles in Beorn’s Hall? Has there ever been discussion of adding other members in?
V.: “BH will always be us two. We both have a similar vision and already have creative chemistry so adding anyone else could spoil the brew so to speak.”
R.: “Since Mikes passing, there will never again be additional members, ever. It’s a very smooth process with just us and we plan to keep it this way. I write almost everything on the 12 string guitar then show the riffs to Vulcan. That’s it. Everything is built around a series of riffs and basic structures. He does all the drums and 90% of the vocals. I do most of the clean vocals and some of the lower death metal vocals.”
Is this going to only exist as a studio project or are there thoughts on putting a lineup together to perform live at some point?
R.: “It would really take a lot of work to get Beorn’s Hall on a stage. The idea is not completely out of the question. There is no lack of musicians around here that’s for sure but the main issue is really a lack of time and little desire to take Beorn to the stage. We both play live in other projects so we get that live fulfilment with other bands.”
V.: “I play in a few live bands and one active touring band already. BH’s studio-only approach is refreshing and almost therapeutic at the end of a busy year.”
I have “accused” you of being major Bathory worshippers…..and thus the cover of “Forever Darkwoods” on the album. How did you land on this track to cover? Does it seem like the US is far behind in realizing the epicness of Bathory?
V.: “It all came about when Mark from Folkvangr Records first had the idea for the tribute album. We had a bunch of songs we wanted to cover, it was so hard to choose! Shores in Flames, Lake of Fire, Woman of Dark Desires etc. were all considered heavily but Foreverdark Woods was a mutual top pick and was very in line with our style so that’s what we went with.”
R.: “I don’t think the US is behind on that at all. At least not here in NH. I mean every bm musician and fan that I know personally worships Quorthon and all eras of Bathory! As they should!”
This track will also be featured on the upcoming Bathory tribute for Folkvangr records…..how did this come about?
R.: “We stay in close contact with Folkvangr Records. We talk a lot and get along very well. One day he messaged us about the idea and we were in immediately.”
V.: “Mark’s become a very good friend over the last year+ of working together. He let us know pretty much immediately after he first had the idea for the tribute to start thinking of a song to cover.”
New music/concerts you are waiting for in 2019?
V.: “We’re always working on new stuff. We’re hoping to get a split done before the years over but we can’t really say much yet.”
R.: “I have begun writing for the next album. That’s all I can say about that.”
R.: “I thought I had a lung tumor once, turns out it was a broken rib.”
V.: “Give Satan an inch and you’ll become a ruler.”